Best Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Nutter Butter Reindeer Cupcakes

by Alli

Reindeer Cupcakes – Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting topped with Nutter Butter Reindeer! 

Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes are adorable and will be the hit of your holiday party. These cupcakes are easy to make and decorate because the reindeer are made with nutter butter cookies. 

Cupcakes are the perfect treat because they are portable and easy to eat. Plus, cupcakes bake faster than traditional cakes, and they are easier to decorate. 

The kids will love to help make these adorable holiday treats!

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Nutter Butter Reindeer Cupcakes

cupcakes with reindeer toppers

Cupcakes

  • Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake mix (plus the ingredients needed in the cake mix directions)
  • semisweet chocolate chips

Reindeer

  • black candy melts
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers
  • Nutter Butter Cookies
  • Black sugar pearl sprinkles
  • Red and brown M&Ms

Chocolate peanut butter frosting:

  •  Softened unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (like Hershey’s)
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Pure vanilla extract

Ingredients to make best chocolate reindeer cupcakes

Equipment Needed

  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • 12-cup cupcake tins
  • Cupcake liners
  • Double boiler (OR microwave!) 
  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowls

How To Store Leftover Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container, for up to 3 days. 

Step By Step Directions (full printable recipe card down below!)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the cupcakes and mix with a whisk until combined. Fold in the semisweet chocolate chips. Spoon two tablespoons (about ⅔ full) of batter into each cupcake liner.

Chocolate cupcake batter in a 12-cup muffin tin before baking

Bake for 14-19 minutes (or to package instructions), or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Prepare three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the black candy melts in 30-second increments, stirring between each time, until fully melted and smooth. Pour the melted candy melts into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #4 tip OR use a Ziploc bag and cut a very tiny piece off of the corner.

dark chocolate wafers melted and spooned into a frosting bag with a tip

To Make The Reindeer Antlers

Pipe the black candy melts onto a lined baking sheet. Use any design you like and get creative with it. Just make sure to keep it around 1-½ inches in length. Don’t pipe it too thin or they may break easily. 

An easy way to pipe the antlers is by first making a ‘Y’ and then making another ‘Y’ underneath it, slightly overlapping the first. Repeat until you have 2 antlers for each reindeer. Make a few extra in case you have breakage. Let harden. 

piped chocolate antlers on parchment paper

Using a double boiler (or microwave), melt the dark chocolate melting wafers on low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.

Dip a Nutter Butter cookie into the melted dark chocolate and make sure it is evenly coated. Lift it out with a fork and lightly tap it on the edge of the pot a few times to remove the excess.

dipping nutter butter cookies into chocolate

Transfer to a lined baking sheet then repeat with two more cookies. You want to work in small batches.

To Decorate The Reindeer

Add two sugar pearls for the eyes and a red or brown M&M for the nose. Carefully remove two antlers from the parchment paper and place them onto the reindeer, a little higher than the eyes. 

stages of decorating nutter butter cookies to look like little reindeer

Don’t place the antlers too close to the edge of the cookies. They may start to slip off while the chocolate sets.

Repeat with the remainder of the cookies. Place the baking sheets of reindeer into the fridge for 10 minutes or until fully set. 

To Make The Frosting For Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

In a large mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until all is incorporated. Add the cocoa powder. Mix until fully incorporated. 

Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add one Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract. Beat ingredients together on high speed until you get the desired consistency.

bowl of chocolate peanut butter frosting for cupcakes

Hint: You can adjust to taste by adding more powdered sugar to make it thicker and sweeter or add another tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to whip more air into it and make it lighter. 

Frost the cupcakes with an offset spatula, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip. Sprinkle on your choice of sprinkles.

frosted chocolate cupcake with sprinkles on cooling rack

Top each cupcake with a Nutter Butter reindeer.

nutter butter reindeer cooling on a rack

Helpful Tips For Making Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

close up shot of nutter butter reindeer cupcakes on blue serving plate

  • In place of the sugar pearls, you can use black cookie icing. You can just dot the eyes and mouth on the reindeer if using black cookie icing. Or, you can purchase candy eyes in the baking section of the grocery store.
  • If you can’t find Nutter Butter Cookies, you can use OREOS. 
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers are used in this recipe. If you’d rather use milk chocolate, that works too. Always use a quality brand of melting wafers. 
  • If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a microwave to melt the chocolate wafers. Melt according to package instructions. Make sure to work in small batches. These chocolates do not reheat well and may start to clump.
  • If you’re in a hurry, you can buy ready-made Fudge Covered Nutter Butters. I believe these only come in circular-shaped cookies. Just melt a little chocolate so you can dab the backs of the decorations to make them stick. 
  • If you don’t want chocolate cupcakes, use your favorite cupcake recipe or cake mix. You can also use store-bought frosting if you’re short on time.

How To Store Leftover Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container, for up to 3 days. Store the reindeer toppers separately from the frosted cupcakes. 

You’ll Also Love These Reindeer Recipes!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Close Up Shot of Reindeer Topped Cupcakes

Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes begin with a cake mix! These adorable cupcakes have a delicious chocolate peanut butter frosting and are topped with Nutter Butter Reindeer cookies!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake mix (plus ingredients needed per directions on box)
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Reindeer

  • 1 cup black candy melts
  • 2 - 10 oz packages Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 24 Nutter Butter Cookies
  • Black sugar pearl sprinkles
  • Red and brown M&Ms

Chocolate peanut butter frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the cupcakes and mix with a whisk until combined. With a spatula, fold in semisweet chocolate chips. Spoon two tablespoons (about ⅔ full) of batter into each of the cupcake liners.
  3. Bake for 14-19 minutes (or to package instructions), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. To make the nutter butter reindeer, prepare three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt black candy melts in 30-second increments, stirring between each time, until fully melted and smooth. Pour the melted candy melts into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #4 tip. If you don’t have a piping bag or piping tip, you can use a Ziploc bag. Cut a very tiny piece off of the corner in order to pipe the melted candy melts.
  6. Make the reindeer antlers by piping the black candy melts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can use any design you like and get creative with it. Just make sure to keep it around 1 ½ inches in length. Don't pipe too thin or they may break easily when removing them. The easiest way to pipe the antlers is to make a ‘Y’ and then make another ‘Y’ underneath it, slightly overlapping the first. Repeat until you have 2 antlers for each reindeer. I like to make a few extra in case of any breaks. Set aside to harden.
  7. Using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate melting wafers on low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.
  8. Dip one nutter butter into the melted dark chocolate and make sure it's evenly coated. Lift it out with a fork and lightly tap it on the edge of the pot a few times to remove the excess. Transfer it to the lined baking sheet then repeat with 2-3 more Nutter Butter cookies. It's easier to work in small batches.
  9. How to decorate the reindeer: Add two sugar pearls for the eyes and a red or brown M&M for the nose. Then carefully remove two antlers from the parchment paper and place them onto the reindeer, slightly higher than the eyes. Don't place the antlers too close to the edge of the Nutter Butter cookies because they may fall off while the chocolate sets.
  10. Repeat the steps with the rest of the cookies. Then place the reindeer on the baking sheets in the fridge for 10 minutes or until fully set.
  11. To make the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until all is incorporated. Add the cocoa powder and mix again until fully incorporated. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract. Beat ingredients together on high speed until spreading consistency. You can adjust to taste by adding more powdered sugar to make it thicker and sweeter or adding another tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to whip more air into it and make it lighter.
  12. Frost the cupcakes with an offset spatula OR use a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip. Sprinkle on your choice of sprinkles and then top each cupcake with a Reindeer.

Notes

If you can’t find sugar pearls, you can use black confetti sprinkles or black cookie icing and just dot the eyes and mouth onto the reindeer cookies. Or, you can purchase candy eyes in the baking section of your grocery store.

If you can't find Nutter Butter Cookies, you can use Oreos or another cookie similar in size.

Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers were used in this recipe, but you can use milk chocolate. Just make sure to use a quality brand.

if you don't have a double boiler, you can melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave according to package instructions. Make sure to work in small batches. These chocolates do not reheat that well and may start to clump.

If you’re short on time, you can buy ready-made Fudge Covered Nutter Butters. I believe it only comes in circle-shaped cookies. You will need to melt a little chocolate so you can dab the backs of the decorations in order for them to stick.

If you don't want to make chocolate cupcakes, use your favorite cupcake recipe or cake mix. You can also use store-bought frosting if short on time. You can even buy frosted store-bought cupcakes and just make the reindeer cookies to top the cupcakes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 454Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 40mgSodium 146mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 3gSugar 41gProtein 5g

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